Malaysia may host 2026 Commonwealth Games

Henry

The Olympic Council of Malaysia is considering hosting a “scaled down” Commonwealth Games in 2026. However, the final decision rests with the Malaysian government.

“For example, it doesn’t have to include 15 sports. It could be 10 sports, which will result in a smaller opening and closing ceremony,” Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary-general Mohamad Nazifuddin Najib said on Monday.

“So all this can be discussed, but we will wait for the decision of the cabinet,” said Najib.

The Malaysian Sports Minister, Hannah Yeoh, has meanwhile confirmed that the government is considering hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

“The most important thing is that when the decision is made, we can assure you that the decision was made after all the possible angles were taken into account,” said Yeoh the New Straits Times said.

The Commonwealth Games Federation is scrambling to find a host after the Australian state of Victoria announced in July last year that it was no longer willing to host in 2026 due to the enormous expected costs involved.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews explained last year that the initial estimate of A$2 billion (about R24 billion) needed to host the Commonwealth Games was likely to be around A$7 billion (more than R85 ​​billion) instead come, which he labeled as “truly too much”.

The Australians’ decision, and the lack of an obvious alternative, has meanwhile sparked a debate over the future of the Commonwealth Games, which take place every four years and were last held in Birmingham in 2022.

Malaysia said last week that the Commonwealth Games Federation had offered “a significant financial investment of £100 million” to help the Southeast Asian nation financially to host the Games.

Singapore, which aims to host more large-scale sporting events, said last week it was “assessing the feasibility” of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s invitation to host the Games.

This rich city-state holds the annual Formula One night race and will host the World Water Championship in 2025.

The Youth Olympic Games were also held in Singapore in 2010.

Some observers said Malaysia and Singapore should co-host the event, a point also raised by the Olympic Council of Malaysia.

“The possibility exists that we can cooperate with Singapore, but it is also possible that Singapore can decide to take over as organizer and then we miss this opportunity,” said Nazifuddin.

Meanwhile, Song Seng Wun, economic adviser to the financial institution CGS International, told AFP that “a significantly scaled-down Games would be more feasible, but would still require a significant amount of money”.

According to him, a joint bid is “the only available solution”.

“Singapore is too small and will need more infrastructure investment,” explained Song.